Back in 2009 I wrote an article on business in SL, and near the end of it I said that Grid-wide hunts are a waste of time and not useful to your business at all. Well, times change, experiences change, and my position on that has changed somewhat.
I no longer think that hunts are completely useless or counterproductive. I do, however, still believe they’re not often done wisely (in some cases by the hunt planners and in other cases by the participating merchant). So in the interest in updating and sharing what I learn as I go, here’s some useful information on participating in Grid-wide hunts as a merchant.
Don’t join every single hunt that comes your way.
Some hunts are better than others: they’re more organized, have more people taking part, fit the theme of your shop better, and have less
drama social-political bullshit going on. Be choosy when you decide which hunt you want your store in.
A well-organized hunt will be one that has its own blog or website with a clear list of participating shops, and has someone you can easily contact with questions. Hunts with a limited number of stops are more likely to be more organized than ones with an infinite number of stops (though not necessarily so). Hunts that have been around for over a year, and/or have had more than one successful run, are likely more organized (after all, they’re probably doing something right!).
Ideally, have a permanent location for your shop.
If you’re continually moving around and settling and resettling on a spot to have as your main store (or if you don’t have a main store), get this taken care of before you join another hunt. One of the reasons for hunts is that people who hadn’t previously seen your store do so, get a free sample of your work, and then remember you and find their way back to you in the future. It’s not all about right here right now; it’s about two months from now when someone who really liked your dresses has an occasion to get another one but can’t find you anymore.
There’s giving it away, and there’s giving it away.
I, personally, don’t trust any hunt organizer that says I’m to give him/her one of my products with full permissions, for him/her to place in a box. I have to make it Copy so that there’s more than one to give away. I have to make it Transfer so this person can give it away. I have to make it Modify so that I can hope and pray that this person sets it to No Transfer when they get it.
I make exceptions if it’s a single (no copy) item, say for a charity auction, or as a prize in a contest. But that’s something different from hunts anyway.
If you hand someone you don’t know a full-permission version of your work, you can pretty much kiss it goodbye. But you can visit it in some crappy freebie warehouse someday.
Have something else in your shop to hold people’s attention just a little bit longer.
Some places will have Lucky Chairs or Midnight Mania boards, causing visitors to hang around longer while waiting for their letter to come up or clicking on the board. This is a chance for other people to get even more fun/free goodies, and when someone is in hunt mode more freebies is just what appeals to them. And a little more time spent in your shop is a little more time for people to see the rest of your products.
Don’t get so caught up in promoting that you forget to run your store.
Hunts are fun and can translate into sales, but not when you’re doing so many hunts that you’re not keeping up on your shop itself. You’ll still want to be making new products, updating displays, sending announcements to your group, tracking sales, and so on. Have a good shop and then promote to get people in there, not the other way around.
Test your hunt box and make sure it’s working correctly.
I once took part in a hunt in which 40% of the boxes weren’t working right. Forty per cent.
Don’t just set out a box; try the hunt out for yourself!
Going through the stops in the same hunt your shop is in is a great opportunity to scope out the competition. See what they’re doing that people like, see what things you wish they’d do differently and figure out how to do them in your shop. Get ideas for what you could do better for your products (“That sofa is nice, but it’s got so many prims. I bet I could make one with half that!”).
What are some other ideas you have for taking part in a successful hunt?
This article is listed in the SL Business section of the Know-it-All Pages, where you can find even more useful information. Go now, and see for yourself!